Blue Ledge Mine, Tailings Remediation and Site Restoration

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon

ERRG conducted a tailings remediation and site restoration project at the remote Blue Ledge Mine in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon for the U.S. Forest Service. ERRG was tasked to restore this abandoned copper mine to pre-mining conditions. Waste rock had been leaching toxic material into surface waters for over 100 years in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, creating a legacy pollution source in the watershed.

This multi-million dollar project included the removal of 65,000 cubic yards of waste rock, encapsulating it in a geomembrane-lined repository, reclaiming 22 acres of disturbed land, installing erosion controls, replacing topsoil, and restoring native vegetation with over 15,000 native plants.

The challenging environment required the use of Spider excavators to crawl up the steep slope of the mountainside. More than 20 ERRG laborers were trained to use climbing gear to remove tailings that could not be reached with the Spider excavators by hand.

Additionally, ERRG constructed approximately 1 mile of roads through rugged terrain to access three of the four waste rock areas.

The contaminated material was placed in an engineered repository and covered with geomembrane, a drainage layer, and up to 7 feet of cover soil to permanently prevent future exposure to the humans or the environment.